Somerville with Townie Tim: Halloween Costumes

Halloween is one of those holidays that is fun at any age. As a kid, you get to walk around demanding candy, and as an adult, you get to buy candy and dress up as your favorite television character. Depending on where you live, it is the last non-family-centric party of the year. After this, it’s all traveling, cold weather, seeing family and sleeping on couches. It’s also fun to really lean into Halloween, going all out on the decorations, food and costumes. I will even go so far as to say that because of these aspects, Halloween parties have the highest fun-potential of any party.

Any good Halloween party starts with a good costume idea. However, your correspondent Townie Tim is not here to dip his toes into the mire that is choosing a Halloween costume. I’m here to provide some guidelines to help you rule out any potential costume hangups that might come your way. I’ve been dressing up every year since I was a kid, and through pure trial and error, I have come up with a few surefire rules to solidify your costume choice.

The first, and most important rule, is that your costume has to reflect your creativity and personality. There really isn’t any other holiday that lets you express yourself as much as Halloween, so take advantage of the opportunity. Yeah sure, we all get stuck trying to figure out a costume the day of a party and end up going as “Three Hole Punch Jim.” You’re better than that though. A costume is so much more fun if it is not something clearly lifted from Pinterest.

The next rule is comfort. When I was in the third grade, I went trick-or-treating as an alien. The costume consisted of black pants, a black turtleneck and a plastic alien mask. After about three houses, I was borderline suffocating in the mask and had to ditch it. For the rest of the night I was just some Steve Jobs-looking 8-year-old demanding candy. The mask was a great idea at my house, but in the wild, it was a nightmare. If your costume requires bulky equipment or that you constantly hold something, it will fall apart faster than toilet paper in the rain. Make sure whatever you dress as can stay relatively intact and be comfortable as you move through your night.

Lastly, and this is sort of a combination of the first two, your costume has to be approachable. I had a friend in high school that insisted every year he dress up as a cinema-quality zombie. From an execution standpoint, it was top tier. But everywhere we went, he looked so realistic that it was actually hard to do anything more than glance at him. You have to make sure your costume is something people can stand to be around for an appreciable length of time. Obviously, this takes a lot of reading the audience; my friend would have fit right in at a Walking Dead convention. I would also throw really obscure costumes into this rule as well. I once went as James Murphy from the “All My Friends” (2007) music video and spent the entire night explaining what I was. Needless to say, people weren’t stoked to talk about it and quickly moved on.